gramajo's blog

Leave of Absence, Post #4

There wasn’t much soccer over the weekend so I did not make a new post yesterday.

For today’s post, I will be writing about what exactly is going on and why exactly I am starting to do all this.

I felt that starting off with this post as Post #1 would have been too aggressive as I do not intend for my blog to be only about this one issue.

As mentioned in my introduction post. I am from Guatemala and my family came to the USA when I was one-year-old. They were fleeing the country because of the civil war. My father had been kidnapped multiples times with each one getting progressively more and more violent. My family decided to flee for this reason as Guatemala struggled to find its own identity politically speaking.

Since then I have lived in the USA, I have gone through the whole educational system here and for the most part identify as American. I say for the most part because it is hard to identify 100% as American as every struggle I have encountered I am reminded that I am not.

I have also gone through the full immigration system and sadly I am still in the system currently. I am 26 years old right now and it is absurd to think that up until this point, I am still in the system. When I was a kid, I was naïve enough to believe that none of this would influence my life but as I got older I realized the more it was a part of me and my identity.

You know that day where everyone is talking about taking drivers ed and how they will not stop at anything until they get their license. The license reflects a certain coming of age and identity. We are closer to freedom and our public records gets updated from our date of birth.

For some reason in my mind I thought I would get to experience this. I built this idea that I was like everyone else. I spoke English, did the pledge of allegiance, read Harry Potter, took AP classes, did sports, was student body president. My reality set in at the age of 15.

I was different than everyone else. I thought I could join the military to really prove how “American” I was. Turns out the military can’t take you, and if they do, taking a bullet for your country doesn’t guarantee that when you are back they will find a way to make you a citizen. So much for that idea.

Going to college I had to apply to be even considered a California resident, so I would not be considered an “international student.” Which I found absolutely hilarious because as far as I was concerned, I was hella bay and probably had better English than most kids.

Once you get into college, you can’t get financial aid regardless of how much taxes your parents and yourself have paid and even if your family makes less than 50k total.

But all of this has never once stopped me. I don’t think I have ever really complained about any of this at any point. I learned early on that complaining really gets you nowhere. There is no point in wasting time and ATP energy on problems like this.

So why am I complaining now?

I am now complaining because our system has left me and thousands of others in odd situations; where we can’t submit our applications too early in advance for risk of denial or further delays. But the turnaround from the government is taking longer than the earliest date we are able to submit our applications (DACA).

There are thousands of us who are now left in a weird situation where we have to take PTO, Leave of Absence, be fired, or rejected and start over. The biggest issue is that we have been given a chance to integrate into society like it should have always been. I am 100% sure that most of us in this situation have integrated nicely, since we have always been here. But with this delay we are now being removed from our integration into society. And this removal, no matter if it is temporary has huge ripple effects.

I hope that all these issues are resolved quickly not just for me but for everyone. It is unacceptable that this is even happening. I look forward to all those DACA recipients to be like the wolves that were reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park once they get their EADs because I know I have a ton of work to catch up on thanks to all this.